8 Videos That Inspire A New Attitude on Grief, Death & Dying

Whether we like to think about it or not, our own mortality is a very real thing. As funeral professionals, we help people face loss.

But what about facing the process of death, and everything else in between?

These 8 videos are some of the most inspiring we’ve found on the web to help tackle some of these topics.

We’ve covered everything from rief to Indonesian death rituals and even human composting parks, so grab a coffee and get ready to feel educated, expanded and  inspired!


1. The Cure for Grief | Norah Casey | TEDxGalway

Norah Casey takes you on a journey that is as refreshing as it is a hard truth. She uses her own vulnerable story to demonstrate that the five stages of grief are indeed BS in her opinion, and instead offers an alternative cure for grief.  To her, nostalgia is dangerous, and motion is required. She offers some tips to “stretch your brain” and think outside what culture has historically taught us about grief!


2. When Someone You Love Dies,There Is No Such Thing as Moving On | Kelley Lynn | TEDxAdelphiUniversity

“It’s time to move on”. This is a statement that everyone hears when grieving the loss of a loved one. In this Ted Talk, Kelley Lynn takes on this statement and some other cliche phrases friends and family use when trying to support us through loss, and calls them out for what they really are. Through her personal account, she encourages us to show up in a bigger way in the face of grief, rather than just succumbing to the unhelpful cultural norms of how we’ve handled grief for decades.


3. “The Last Serenade”  | Lilli Haydn |TED2018

In This Ted Talk, there actually isn’t any talking. Instead, we are taken on emotional journey through the sound of music, courtesy of the stunning musician Lilli Haydn. Worth the watch, and certainly emotional, this Ted video inspired the idea of death being a serenading dance, rather than just a looming prophecy. Give it a watch and hear for yourself.



4. “When I die, Recompose Me” | Katrina Spade | TEDxOrcasIsland

What happens to our physical bodies when we die? According to Katrina Spade, the last thing we do on this Earth is poison it with our modern funerary practices.  Katrina Spade offers up a totally new alternative to the traditional cremation and burials. Her approach? Embracing nature. “In nature, death creates life,” she explains, as she introduces a system called recomposing. She’s thought it out so well, she’s actually devised a plan to create the first full scale human composting park in Seattle!



5. “There’s a better way to die, and architecture can help” | Alison Killing | TEDGlobal 2014

What do you think a good death is? What do you think architecture that supports a good death might be like? These are the questions Alison Killings asks in this Ted Talk. As an architect, Alison Killing has been studying the way hospitals support death for years. Through her research, she offers some ideas on how hospitals can be a more comforting, and even inspiring place to die… and to live.



6. How To Support A Friend Going Through A Difficult Time via Goodful

“Here’s the deal. The human soul does not want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed – to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is.” This quote sums up this video best. We love this video because it encourages us to FEEL our grief, rather than to try skip over it in the name of “looking on the bright side”. This engaging animation is a great way to educate people of any age on facing grief in a super healthy way.


7. “Life that doesn’t end with death” | Kelli Swazey | TEDMED2013

What would life be like if the dead literally lived alongside you? In Eastern Indonesia, there’s a community of people who see death as a gradual, social process. Death is the most visible and remarkable aspect of life. Lasting from a few days to a few weeks, this community embraces the presence of someone who has died just as much as the living. Where we see death as an inevitable biological fate, they see it as a larger social genesis. Watch this video if you’re genuinely curious to see how a culture that sees death as a social genesis celebrates and embraces death as a part of life.



8. “Prepare for a good end of life” | Judy MacDonald Johnston | TED2013

We all think about living well, but what if we thought about dying well, too? What would be a good end of life? Judy MacDonald Johnston helps people with their end of life experience. Through her experience, Judy offered 5 practices to end a life well. As logical as they are touching, we really loved her approach, and think everyone who plans to die should watch this one… and that means everyone!


What are your favorite inspirational videos on the topics of death, grief and dying? Share them with us in the comments below!

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